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Minneapolis cemetery focuses on stories this Memorial Day

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Lakewood Cemetery in Minneapolis
Flags fly at Lakewood Cemetery in Minneapolis on Saturday, ahead of Memorial Day observances.
Cody Nelson | MPR News

Some people get the wrong idea about cemeteries, says Chris Makowske. 

However, Makowske, president of the Lakewood Cemetery Association, believes Memorial Day offers an opportunity for cemeteries to be used to their full potential.

"A lot of people will talk about a cemetery as basically like a boneyard. But that's not why cemeteries are here," he said. "It really provides a tangible place for people to come and remember and to tell stories and be connected to those that they've lost."

That thinking inspired a new focus on storytelling for Lakewood Cemetery's annual Memorial Day observance, taking place Monday.

Lakewood Cemetery in Minneapolis
The Memorial Chapel at Lakewood Cemetery in Minneapolis, as seen on Saturday.
Cody Nelson | MPR News

The cemetery's goal is to use stories to help relive and honor lost loved ones and history. 

This year, people can write letters to deceased loved ones at the cemetery. Or they can write an uplifting note to a stranger and pick up one for themselves in return. 

Author Jacquelyn Fletcher will give a keynote speech on the importance of storytelling. The ceremony also will include music from Robert Robinson and a story on the 75th anniversary of D-Day from Douglas Bekke, an author and historian. 

Lakewood Cemetery sits between Bde Maka Ska and Lake Harriet, and people also can take streetcar rides around Harriet during the event. 

If you go

  Events run from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday. Admission is free; streetcar rides cost $2.50 per trip. More information and a schedule are available on Lakewood's website.